NIEHS Clinical Director Jan Hall emceed the annual recognition of outstanding work by institute staff and contractors Sept. 9. “We have a tremendous amount to celebrate,” Hall said, setting the tone of warmth and generosity that continued throughout the event.
In addition to Merit and Peer Awards, organizers recognized winners of National Institutes of Health (NIH) 2021 Fellows Awards for Research Excellence (FARE) and, for sustainability achievements, the Green Champions Awards from the Department of Health and Human Services. This year’s ceremony also showcased employees who have completed decades of service to the federal government.
Hall shared the lead with NIEHS Director Rick Woychik. Although no stranger to awards ceremonies during his decade as the institute’s deputy director, this was his first as director. “I want to extend my thanks for the heroic efforts you have made over the last several months to stay productive, upbeat, and focused on our work during this unprecedented crisis,” he said.
Organizers deftly adapted to the online format with changes that included nominators briefly describing the work they felt deserved recognition. This new element provided a glimpse into the types of work people do around the organization and the ways in which they went above and beyond expectations.
Hall specifically noted the production efforts of Ed Kang, from the Office of Management, for masterminding the new format. “I couldn’t let the day go by without thanking him for his work,” she said.
In the lists below, awardee names and the reason for their recognition are followed by the name of the person who nominated them. Recipients of 2020 NIH Director’s Awards are also noted.
Individual Merit Awards
"The Merit Award signifies outstanding contributions to the mission of the institute,” Woychik said, noting they are the highest level of recognition at NIEHS.
- Terry Blankenship, for leadership and outstanding contributions to the NIEHS research animal care and use program, by Kathy Laber.
- Rachel Frawley, for exemplary collaboration with colleagues in the Division of the National Toxicology Program (DNTP) multidisciplinary projects, by Diane Spencer.
- Katherine Hamilton, for exemplary initiative and leadership in developing the first postbaccalaureate fellowship program at NIEHS, by Tammy Collins. Hamilton also received an NIH Director’s Award.
- Deborah Jones, for exceptional support of the peer review process for grant applications for Superfund Research Program centers, by Alfonso Latoni.
- Stephanie London, for the creation and outstanding leadership of the Pregnancy and Childhood Epigenetics consortium, by Dale Sandler.
- Lee Ann McCray, for exemplary efficiency and professionalism in clerical support of the Immunity, Inflammation, and Disease Laboratory, by Michael Fessler.
- Sheena Scruggs, for exemplary collaboration in offering three unprecedented global outreach events, by Kelly Lenox.
- Matt Stout, for leadership in contracts and portfolio management for DNTP, by Brian Berridge.
- Humphrey Yao, for exemplary scientific discovery and dedication to mentoring NIEHS trainees, by Franco DeMayo. Yao also received an NIH Director’s Award.
Group Merit Awards
- Biostatistics and bioinformatics short courses leadership, by Alison Motsinger-Reif
- NIEHS — Adam Burkholder, Sarah Grimm, Kai Kang, Jian-Liang Li, Yuanyuan Li, Katie O'Brien, Min Shi, Keith Shockley, Zongli Xu, Shanshan Zhao.
- Contractors — Brian Bennet, Les Klimczak, Erin Knight, Jianying Li, Brian Papas, Tom Randall, James Ward, Nora Weston, Xiaojiang Xu.
- Breast Cancer and Environment Research Program collaboration, by Claudia Thompson. This group also received an NIH Director’s Award.
- NIEHS — Janice Allen, Linda Bass, Bryann Benton, Abee Boyles, Jennifer Collins, Gwen Collman, Lisa Edwards, Barbara Gittleman, Alfonso Latoni, Elizabeth Maull, Kindra Morrison, Aaron Nicholas, Leslie Reinlib, Thaddeus Schug, Claudia Thompson, James Williams.
- National Cancer Institute — Tram Kim Lam, Gary Ellison, Armen Ghazarian, Ron Johnson, Gila Neta, Neeraja Sathyamoorthy, Deborah Winn.
- Clinical Research Unit efficiencies, by Stavros Garantziotos
- NIEHS — Lisa Barber, Kim Burnett-Hoke, Becky Church, Kim Downey, Anna Drude, Margaret George, Chris Lee, Chris McGee, Alex Njunge, Xiomara White.
- Contractors — Breana Beery, Audrey Brown, Nicole Edwards, Kathy Hampton, Imke Kirste, Bona Purse, Gladys Ruby Gonzalez, Cynthia Smith, Catherine Wild.
- Freedom of Information Act backlog elimination, by Christine Flowers
- Sherena Jackson, Tony Livingston, Regina Stabile, Angela Tew.
- Health and safety training tool, by Jeff Church
- NIEHS — Bill Fitzgerald, Andy Hodgson, Steve Novak, Cheryl Thompson.
- NIH — Paul Poliachik.
- Contractors — Tina Berger, Stephanie Bishop, Claus Jensen, Nancy Smith.
- Human Health Exposure Analysis Resource team, by Pat Mastin — David Balshaw, Linda Bass, Jennifer Collins, Yuxia Cui, Chris Duncan, Kimberly Gray, Michelle Heacock, Bonnie Joubert, Alfonso Latoni, Kindra Morrison, Kristi Pettibone, Varsha Shukla, Claudia Thompson, James Williams, Leroy Worth.
- Information technology contracts execution, by Pat Mastin and Chris Long — Bernard Brown, Wei Chen, Troy Deaton, Christie Drew Bryan Duran, David Fargo, Christopher Fisher, Melissa Gentry, Matt Jordan, Beth Lauderdale, Jay Nicholson, Roy Reter, Dan Rich, Elizabeth Ruben, Bernie Salter, Troy Simpson, Mike Tyson.
- Linda Birnbaum retirement activities planning, by Rick Woychik — Jed Bullock, Allison Eason, Christine Flowers, Kay Hudd, Mary Jacobson, Richard Kwok, Spencer Smith.
- NTP Interaction for Continued Excellence enhancement of communication and comradery, by Brian Berridge — Mamta Behl, Chad Blystone, Michelle Cora, Stephanie Holmgren, Chris McPherson, Suril Mehta, Stephanie Smith-Roe, Kyla Taylor.
- Offsite meeting coordination during Rodbell Auditorium renovation, by Mitch Williams
- NIEHS — Treva Bunch, Matthew Burr, Rhonda Carroll, Beth Kahuniak, Roy Reter, Tonya Shields, Amanda Thompson, Cheryl Thompson.
- Contractors — Nathan Coletta, Charles Lipford.
- Scientific high-performance computing cluster team, by Alison Motsinger-Reif
- NIEHS — Frank Day, John Grovenstein, Chris Stone.
- Contractor — Greg Stamper.
NIEHS employees may nominate a peer for recognition. The awardee is listed below, along with the reason for the award and the person who nominated them.
- June Dunnick, for exemplifying the mission of the NTP program to advance research in protection of public health, by Helen Cunny.
- Jennifer Evans, for leadership during the Transhare vanpool program transition, by Kembra Howdeshell.
- Gail Kestner, for professionalism in administration of the Clinical Research Branch, by Lynae Baker.
- Crystal Littlefield, for outstanding effort and assistance in helping her peers, by Christopher Kimball.
- Georgia Roberts, for exemplary leadership and support to DNTP peers that span multiple branches and levels of staff, by Kristen Ryan.
- Kristen Ryan, for helping peers and making DNTP a more engaging place to work, by Mamta Behl.
- Arrash Yazdani, for going above and beyond the call of duty to promote a safe working place for the NIEHS staff, by Negin Martin.
Years of Service
“We recognize our dedicated federal workforce for major milestones in their years of service,” said Acting Deputy Director Gwen Collman, noting that the combined total was more than 1,000 years of work.
Pat Mastin, acting director of the Division of Extramural Research and Training, joined Collman in reading the names. Alongside employees’ photos, viewers saw images from the years when each group began their federal career, from 1980’s Pac-Man™ and “The Empire Strikes Back” forward to the Deepwater Horizon explosion of 2010.
40 years — Jane Lambert, Claudia Thompson.
30 years — Janice Allen, Linda Bass, Douglas Bell, Jeff Church, Astrid Haugen, Chip Hughes, Rob Levine, Jacqueline Locklear, Leslie Reinlib, Veronica Robinson, John Schelp, Gregory Solomon, Kimberly Thigpen Tart, Sheila Withers, Samuel Wilson, Darryl Zeldin.
20 years — Terry Blankenship, Pierre Bushel, Natasha Clayton, Cathy Dorsey, Jennifer Fostel, David Goulding, Heather Jensen, Cindy Lawler, Liwen Liu, Matt Longley, Ruth Lunn, Jennifer Madenspacher, Christopher McPherson, Brooke Rogerson, Gregory Scott, Donna Stefanick, Vandy Stober, Deloris Sutton, Kevin Trotter, Charles Tucker, Tanya Whiteside, Deborah Wilson.
10 years — Cathryn Appel, Mamta Behl, Kimberly Burnett-Hoke, Danielle Carlin, Michelle Cora, Jenn Evans, Shawndall Fox, Alison Harrill, Christine Harrison Johnson, Guang Hu, Mary Jacobson, Sherena Jackson, Kevin Katen, Heather Knox, Justin Kosak, Suril Mehta, Suzy Osborne, Amelia Pearson, Kristianna Pettibone, Derrick Raynor, Ericka Reid, Cynthia Rider, Paivi Salo, Regina Stabile, Erik Tokar, Jessica Williams, Robert Williams, Humphrey Yao.